The Best Apps for Learning a Language

The Best Apps for Learning a Language

Learning a language can be extremely rewarding, and it's a skill that'll serve you well throughout your entire lifetime. Getting to grips with a brand-new language, however, is no easy feat, but there are many innovative apps out there that can help.

Whether you're already on your way to becoming fluent and would like to find new ways to learn, or you're about to start a new language from scratch, make sure you check out our top language learning apps below.

If you’re looking for a new phone to compliment your language learning experience, our contract and SIM-free collections serve up plenty of options.

Best overall language learning app


Available on: iOS and Android.
Price: Free, with in-app purchases.

Our top recommendation when choosing a language learning app is Duolingo. With over 300 million users worldwide, the app is extremely popular with learners of all levels, and you can choose from any of the 23 languages available on the app - including Chinese, Japanese, English, Greek and Latin.

Duolingo aims to make learning a new language simple and fun. Bite-sized lessons make new vocabulary easy to digest, and each lesson is designed like a mini-game to ensure your learning never feels like a chore. It will intelligently analyse your learning style as you progress through the app, adapting the content of your lessons to ensure it compliments your individual learning style.

The app is packed full of features to help you track your progress and stay motivated. You'll be able to see your personal fluency score every time you use the app, and new levels can be unlocked the more you use it. You'll also be awarded gems (also known as Lingots, depending on whether you're using iOS, Android or the web version of Duolingo), which can be exchanged for a range of in-app benefits from the Shop, such as streak wagers, heart refills and more.

Duolingo is completely free, no matter how long you use it for. You do have an option to sign up for Super Duolingo however, if you'd like to tap into additional features such as offline learning, a more in-depth progress tracker, streak repair and an ad-free experience.

Best tailored language learning app


Available on: iOS and Android.
Price: £12.99 per month.

Babbel has been around since 2008, and in that time has successfully taught millions of users another language. This is in large part thanks to its intelligent approach to learning.

Babbel engages you in dialogue right from the start - rather than purely focusing on things like grammatical rules and set words. You'll pick up skills you can use right away, and learn useful conversation phrases that'll grow in complexity as you progress through the app.

Interestingly, Babbel tailors its teaching to each individual user, too - it'll ask for your native language when you sign up, and identify similarities between your primary language and the new language you'd like to learn. For example, you'll skip over words that appear in both languages, and won't focus too heavily on grammatical concepts that are already present in your native tongue.

Options include Spanish, English, Polish, Swedish and more, and you'll be taught through a series of short courses. Across the entire platform, there are over 60,000 individual lessons to experience, and each lesson has a level assigned to it; you can skip past particular lessons if you're not a beginner, or repeat lessons to really get to grips with the basics.

Ways to join Babbel include a monthly, quarterly, annual and bi-annual subscription. No matter which you choose, you will be granted full access to all available courses for your chosen language and the Review section, as well as the option to pick up where you left off on **multiple **devices.

Best language app for visual learners


Available on: iOS and Android.
Price: Free, with in-app purchases available.

With its colourful and playful interface, Drops offers something a little bit different to traditional e-learning apps. You'll be limited to just five minutes of learning a day, which is designed to avoid overstimulation and encourage effective learning.

Drops can be used to learn over 30 different languages, including Dutch, Russian, Arabic and Japanese. When you download the app, you'll be able to view the full list of available languages, and select whether you're a beginner or intermediate learner, to ensure lessons are at a level that matches your current capabilities.

The app uses a selection of different methods to teach users and includes mnemonics, fun visuals and fast-paced games. Courses such as Japanese will help you master a different alphabet, too, with specific lessons on new writing systems. Lessons are also split into categories, such as Food and Drink, Travel Talk, Foundation, and City and Shops. We recommend kicking off with the Foundation section to get a hold of the basics, before exploring the topics you're most interested in. Particular lessons will also remain locked until you've completed others, so you won't encounter anything that's currently too advanced for you.

Drops is free to use, and available for both iOS and Android. If you'd like to experience the app with no adds and no time limitations, you can sign up for Drops Premium instead.

Best language app for casual conversations


Available on: iOS and Android.
Price: Free, with in-app purchases available.

If you want to prioritise learning casual chats with locals, Memrise is the best option. This app specialises in helping you pick up essential phrases used in conversations, and these can be learned via video clips and tests to sharpen your knowledge. The videos feature native speakers of the language you’re studying, so you can hear exactly how the word or phrase is pronounced.

Memrise also includes an AI tutor, which you can use to further test your language skills. The bot will adapt with your experience and provide feedback in real time; ideal for assessing your progress before testing your skills out with local speakers.

The vast majority of Memrise’s features are included in the free version, but you can unlock additional tools and remove the ads by subscribing to the app’s Pro plan.

Best language app for live learning


Available on: iOS and Android (web browser only)
Price: Free 7-day trial (monthly plans available)

Lingoda offers a language learning experience unlike any others on our list. This program is all about picking up a language in a classroom environment, instead of learning solo. After picking the language you want to study, you can join Zoom calls in which an expert will take you, and other learners, through the essentials. Following the class, your teacher will give you personalised feedback to help you develop.

The collaborative nature of Lingoda enables you to learn from others as you progress. If there’s a particular element of the language you’re struggling with, you can work with your fellow students and teacher to enhance your skills. Lingoda is therefore a great option if you prefer to study alongside others.

There are multiple ways you can book your classes in Lingoda. There’s Sprint, which is a 2-month challenge designed for students who want to learn quickly. Flex is another option; in this plan, you can learn at your own pace and change up the intensity of the study based on your experience. The final plan is Teams, which is ideal for those who want to study in a consistent group.

Best language learning app for audio listeners

Rosetta Stone

Available on: iOS and Android.
Price: £15.99 per month.

There are few names more synonymous with language learning than Rosetta Stone. The program launched in 1992 and has since been adapted into an app for modern smartphones.

Rosetta Stone’s long history means you’re learning from resources that are tried-and-tested. The standout feature of Rosetta Stone is its audio classes, which immerse you in the language you’re learning. More than 20 languages can be studied via a range of common scenarios and activities, designed to teach you core words and phrases.

The app also includes advanced speech recognition technology, which you can use to practise your pronunciation. This is a handy feature, as simply knowing what to say isn’t enough; you also need to say it correctly.

Those are our top picks for the best language learning apps you can download. If you’re keen to use your phone for studying, too, we have a guide that can help.